Meetings missing from CFTC website


A week before Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioners unanimously approved new rules restricting how brokerage firms may invest customer funds, executives from Newedge, which had pushed against the rules along with the now bankrupt firm MF Global, attended several meetings with high ranking CFTC officials.

However, not all of these meetings were disclosed on the agency's official logs that track meetings of CFTC officials with outsiders on implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial law.

On November 28, the CEO and high level executives from Newedge, a global brokerage firm, attended two meetings at the CFTC, according to meeting log records collected on the Sunlight Foundation's Dodd-Frank tracker. A noon meeting with CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler was reported as a discussion of foreign sovereign debt and other issues related to investment of customer funds. An earlier meeting, with Jill Sommers, one of the CFTC commissioners, was also on segregation of customer funds.

According to a Newedge official who was present that day, there were three additional meetings. One was with newly confirmed CFTC Commissioner Mark Wetjen; another was with Gary Barnett, who heads the swaps division at the agency. A third meeting was with CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton, described as a casual drop in during wich the commissioner was "on the phone."

Like other federal financial agencies charged with implementing the Dodd-Frank financial law, the CFTC makes public meetings with outsiders on its website–records that the Sunlight Foundation gathers in a searchable format in one place on its Dodd-Frank Tracker here. The CFTC has generally been out front of other agencies, reporting such meetings soon after they occur rather than after a delay, and doing so in a format that can be easily captured by programmers.

In contrast, the Treasury Department, releases details of meetings once a month, with a one month time lag, so that the most recent records now available are from October.

But there is no way for a journalist or member of the public to know if the record an agency provides is complete, unless information is collected in some other way, as we did for this post.

At the time of publication, the CFTC has not answered a query about the missing records. We will update if we receive additional information.

12/8 edited to add:  The CFTC website now shows a record of the meeting between Newedge executives and CFTC Commisioner Bart Chilton on November 28.

12/12 edited to add:  The CFTC website now shows a record of the meeting with Mark Wetjen. There is still no record of the meeting with Gary Barnett.

09/04/12 edited to add:  The CFTC contacted us to let us know the website shows a record of the meeting with Gary Barnett. It appears that  all the meetings Newedge executives had with CFTC officials are now posted on the agency's website.

About the data

What: meeting logs

Where: websites of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of the Treasury, gathered by Sunlight Foundation on Dodd-Frank tracker here.

Availability: varies according to agency; each one posts at different time intervals and in varying formats. No way of knowing if information is complete.

Usability: varies according to agency